Review Links:
Part 1 – Introduction
Part 2 – The Build | Build Photos 
Part 3 – The Track test… Photo Gallery
Part 4 – 2013 Spec Upgrade | Photos

Purchase the XRAY XB9 @ A Main Hobbies today

After putting the XB9 through it’s paces on track, we returned to the wrench bench and did a tear down – checking screws and parts’ condition – everything looked good. However whilst cleaning it the lack of rear mud guards allow quite a lot of dirt to build up on the rear suspension – ‘lightness is a lifestyle’ so we understand XRAY’s decision, however if you’re on a wet track you’ll need some.

Testing the 2013 Spec XB9

More importantly the final part of the XB9 review concludes with the ‘2013 spec’ update which winged it’s way over to our testing facility. The unboxing surprised us with the amount of new parts found inside; despite the platform largely being the same, several  small bits and details revised and updated.

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The biggest news is for sure the chassis, which is now a hefty 12 mm wider and slightly longer, with the center diff moved inwards to straighten the drivetrain and the engine moved forward and away from the center. The radio tray stays the same, thus requiring a longer throttle linkage. The side guards sport new holes, and the muffler support wire is longer as well.

Continue the review by clicking ‘More’…

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Other big news are about the front end, where new C blocks and steering blocks make a big difference. The caster has been increased to 16°, and the C blocks now feature 2 different roll center holes: the higher hole is the same as the old blocks, the lower is new. There is also a new shock tower, with the only news of a higher hole for the camber link. All the turnbuckles are new and now machined from Hudy’s famous spring steel instead of Ergal aluminium. The rear end also features a new shock tower that is completely identical to the old one except for two holes in the middle. Another new feature in the car is the fuel tank, now provided with a floating filter which will be useful in case wreck leaving the car upside down.

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The clutch assembly on the ’13 spec is new, with a smaller diameter, 3 grams heavier “high torque” flywheel and softer springs, while the last fresh bit on the new car are the wheel nuts, now ribbed on one side to provide a better lock by “biting and diving” into the nylon rims.

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Once assembled, its easily noticeable the larger clearance between the engine and the radio tray, but the car is way more balanced than before. We also got the new harder springs we deeply desired during the first tests, and even on our workbench, once installed, the feeling was way better.

We headed back to the track only after installing the brand new Ultimate Engine M8 (review to follow shorty). Once slamming the body on the car we noticed that due to the wider chassis the “bitty-painted” body didn’t fit the ‘more rotund’ beauty perfectly – disappointing.

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After breaking in the engine we started being more and more demanding on the car. This is a completely different test from the last one, and every single tenth of a second is crucial to judge a race car fairly. We started with the same basic setup we used before, bar the new springs and the 16° caster blocks. The car was working pretty ok, but still wasn’t exactly what you want to win races.

The first two attempts we made were about the new things on the car: first we moved the front camber link to the higher, new hole on the shock plate, and that gave us a rounder car troughout the whole corner, while using the new lower hole to link the front arm with the C-Block increased sensibly the forward traction out of the slow corners. We yearned for more responsiveness and more steering in the fast corners, so we decided to go slightly stiffer with the shocks and to move the steering link on the forward hole on the graphite plate, with the two changes both working quite well.

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We still needed a bit more steering in a couple of wide, high speed turns to make the car perfect, and thinking about the possible choices we remembered to have a Bittydesign Force body ready to try. The aerodinamics are a key feature on our test track, as we’ve witnessed many times before, and the XB9 is not an exception. Carrying more downforce on the front end, the body made the car faster and flowy in the wide turns without compromising the corner speed in the tight ones. Exactly what we were looking for. In the few bumps we had to face the car was quite predictable, even if not perfect. We thought about the possible solutions and we decided to give a try to the multiflex system.

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It was simply by taking out some of the side guards and radio tray screw that we went from the stiff setup to the soft one. The car was now way better in the bumps and holes but had lost lots of steering and responsiveness, suggesting us to switch again to the medium flex setup. After a long day of testing we were finally happy, and the laptimes confirmed that the XB9 ’13 is a pure racing beast, it needs to be pushed hard but when it is, returns loads of fun and speed to the user.

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Again, after the second session we can only report a broken steering servo arm, but that came after a huge crash that damaged the servo itself, giving us the oportunity to understand how easy and fast it is to operate on the radio tray in case you’ll need to during a race: the servo was changed and the car was all together again in 6 minutes and 32 seconds (using our trustworthy Hitachi electric screwdriver), which means you can easily change your broken servo during a technical timeout cause, you know, bad luck happens! What else to say, apart from the non-fitting body we couldn’t be expecting more from a car the second time we hit a track with it. Good traction (even if not excellent), great handling and a good corner speed are the key features of a car that can be extremely fast in the right hands as well as easy, relaxing and smooth when used by an average racer. A great product and a lesson to many in quality, materials, precision and details all contributing to a strong affection for this car.

Purchase the XRAY XB9 @ A Main Hobbies today


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